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Thursday, 23 June 2011

Revelation Cat

It is not often Fuggles turns down a Mikkeller beer, but I found myself with a conundrum earlier this week.  My favourite pub, Cask Pub & Kitchen, had laid on a "meet the brewer" event with Alex from Revelation Cat.  He'd brought with him, all the way from Italy, a number of beers that I probably wouldn't get to try again for some time, if ever, and mostly in the range of 6 - 9 % ABV.  Wisely sold by the half pint, I wasn't convinced I'd get through everything even so, and had to limit myself.

Revelation Cat focuses on two main styles (as it happens, two of my favourite styles).  The sour lambics, often with a twist - such as maturing in whisky or rum barrels - and west coast style IPAs.  So, pacing myself not quite the forefront of my mind, I started with the Laphroaig Lambic.  This 9% beer (matured, as you might have worked out, in Laphroaig casks) captured the character of the whisky casks better than any other example I've seen.  The nose was amazing - such powerful peatiness, it was like sniffing the whisky.  This was followed through by a quite astrigent palate with a very strong whisky taste.  Less impressive (not helped but rapidly following the former) was the Martinique Rum, which had only a light overtone of rum notes floating over the top of the palate, and left me slightly wanting by comparison.

The brilliantly named "Mad Walloper" was the cloudy dark chestnut beer pictured below.  A very unusual beer, with a rich warming fruity nose that reminded me very strongly of sherbert.  But it took you by surprise when you drank it as it tasted neither dark nor sweet.  Still fruity, but very sour and almost woody.  I still haven't quite made my mind up on it, but for me it had more potential than the Martinique.

Top of the pops for me on the West coasters was the West Coast Double IPA - a rich mellow IPA, packing a punch at 9% with slight citrus on the nose and a rich fruity body on the palate.  The Creamy bitter was also great - fresh and zesty hops singing out.

I really like what Rev Cat are doing, taking great edgy styles and pushing the boundaries a little bit further.  These boundaries may or may not be to your taste, but experimentation is often the precursor to greatness, and they should be admired for their boldness.  More please!

Oh, and I might have let myself just have a little taste of Mikkeller's Sorachi Ace (after the hops) at the end of the night - well worth breaking my own rules for!

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Eagle Ale House

As possibly mentioned before, there is little Fuggles enoys more than discovering a great new place to enjoy good beer.  Just such a happy occasion befell me on Friday night.  I was alerted through the program from the Battersea Beer Festival to a number of real ale festivals held in South West London bars.  I was particularly keen to check out the Eagle Ale House over the bank holiday, having never been there.  It is certainly off the beaten track (several friends took quite a while to materialise), but that helps preserve its charm, as you don't have to fight your way to the bar in between protecting your small corner of the standing room only.

Safely esconced in a nice corner booth, I perused the bar and started with the Quantock Wills Neck, a late hopped Golden Ale, with just enough bitterness and citrus freshness to it.  I was just considering which of the remaining 7 hand pumps to try when it was pointed out to me that the beer festival was in the garden.  I am so used to "beer festivals" being advertised and turning out to be about 4 beers, that I had been quite excited to see 8 hand pumps.  Having realised this is the normal level of choice I will definitely be going back.

So into the garden, and armed with a beer menu (a beer menu!) of 50 odd beers and a handful of cider and perries, I worked my way through what was on that night.

Top picks of the night:

Franklins Original
Darkstar Partridge Best (Top beer of the night)

Green Jack Albion Mild

Milton Sparta

Sadly I didn't make it back on Saturday or Sunday to tick off the beers that hadn't yet settled on Friday, but I'll definitely be back at the Eagle, beer festival or not, for their wide selection, cosy atmosphere and great staff.  And now at least I know how to find it.